System Partners Work Provide Relief for Overcapacity Crisis
#LSN_Health Tracy Buckler, Jean Bartkowiak, Laura Kokocinski.
THUNDER BAY, ONTARIO - January 13, 2018 (LSN) Local health care leaders announced measures to provide relief from uncharacteristically high overcapacity at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (the Hospital).
The North West Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) has made investments over the past two months with health care system partners in the city of Thunder Bay to create capacity for 45 more patients.
Investments are being made in hospital bed capacity throughout the Northwest to ensure patients who receive hospital care in Thunder Bay, but don’t call Thunder Bay home, can be repatriated back to their home town hospital as efficiently as possible.
In addition to new bed capacity, health system partners have improved and integrated technologies, processes, communications and logistics to reduce demand on the Hospital’s Emergency Room. These avoid unnecessary admissions to the Hospital and ensure the safe and timely discharge of patients to the appropriate care setting.
The Hospital is one of many across Ontario experiencing higher admissions of late, mostly related to the flu. The Thunder Bay District Health Unit estimates the “peak” in the flu season will continue for another one- to two-week period. During this time, high volumes of patients with flu-related illnesses requiring hospital admission are anticipated.
To provide increased health care system capacity during the peak flu season, the North West LHIN, in cooperation with the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care is opening 32 temporary hospital beds. The Hospital, St. Joseph’s Care Group and the North West LHIN are collaborating to temporarily transfer up to 32 patients from the Hospital to Hogarth Riverview Manor (HRM).
These patients will be transferred to a wing of HRM, and not co-located with the greater population of current Long-Term Care residents at HRM.
This collaborative strategy will allow the transferred patients to receive care offsite and will be cared for by Hospital staff. Given the impact of the flu season this year, it is anticipated that patients will need to be hospitalized at Hogarth Riverview Manor for six to eight weeks, when patient volumes at the Hospital are expected to return to normal levels.
Transferring patients to Hogarth Riverview Manor supports a more comfortable care environment during this period of extraordinary overcapacity. It will also allow the Hospital to continue delivery of acute care services, while ensuring that specialists can continue to provide diagnostic and surgical procedures.